workers' compensation

Workers’ compensation insurance evolved to pay workers who suffer injuries in the course of job-related activities. Lurking inside that seemingly mundane definition are gray areas that can lead to expensive litigation and workplace disharmony. If you aim to promote safety and minimize claims, understanding the employee injuries that workers’ comp does not cover is vital.

Motor Vehicle Injuries

Worker injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents would seem at first glance to appear crystal clear. Employees who make deliveries or sales calls during working hours enjoy coverage when they perform these tasks. The same protection extends to any employee injured while running an errand assigned by a supervisor. Likewise, vehicle mishaps on the company’s property fall inside workers’ comp protection.

Lunch break auto accidents may or may not trigger a workers’ comp claim. An employee injured in an off-premises accident typically may not file a claim. Conversely, a staffer falling victim to a collision while picking up lunch for a work team is likely covered. In this situation, the unfortunate lunch runner performs a job-related errand for the employer.

Typically, a worker who sustains an injury during the commute between home and work does not receive workers’ comp protection. A rare exception to this rule occurs if your employee’s pay package includes compensation for drive time between home and work. In this uncommon situation, workers are on the clock the moment they leave their driveways and are likely to prevail in a claim if injured.

Rule-Breaking Injuries

You might think that employees injured while breaking your company’s safety rules automatically forfeit their right to file a workers’ comp claim. Think again. In the court system, rules spelled out in the company handbook or posted in the shop room mean little without enforcement. In the eyes of the legal system, unenforced rules create a reasonable expectation by workers that their employer tolerates slack behavior. Employees injured in roughhousing incidents have successfully pursued workers comp claims based on that expectation. The moral: Enforce your company’s safety rules.

Injuries of Pre-Existing Conditions

If your workers aggrevate a pre-existing condition in the course of business, these injuries are likely to fall inside workers’ comp protection. Nonetheless, this is an area where your company must tread carefully. If a worker receives an instruction from their physician to avoid a specified activity, that employee forfeits the right to workers’ compensation by violating the medical prohibition. To head off litigation, you must ensure that your employees do not feel pressured to violate doctors’ directives as a condition of employment.

Openly communicating the limits of workers’ compensation throughout your company heads off unreasonable expectations and builds respect for workplace safety measures. Coupled with attention to your state’s workers’ compensation regulations, your efforts will pay off with reduced annual premiums.

About InsureMyWorkComp 

InsureMyWorkComp is a digital brokerage that helps clients find the right workers’ compensation solution for their business needs. Unlike other online platforms, we will help you to work with an agent who can provide you the right solution for your risk profile. Our staff has over 50 years of workers’ compensation underwriting and sales experience, and we are confident that we will provide you the support that you need. For more information or to get a quote, contact us today at (855) 340-9138.